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Grilling Automation! 

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Grilling Automation! 

Written By: Joe McCabe 


#25 drill bit (1) 

clearance hole size for 10-24 machine 


Hack saw (1) 

hand electric drill (1) 


Multipurpose 1"x3"x1/8" Aluminum Angle 


Heavy-duty nylon pulley for wire rope (1) 

General-purpose plain steel wire rope (1) 

Hardened precision steel shaft M) 

Hardened precision shaft (1) 

#10-24 x 1 1 / 2 " machine bolt (24) 

#10-24 nut (24) 

5/16" hexaqonal nut (1) 

Stainless Steel Wire Cloth Woven (1) 

Self-Align STL Flange-Mount Needle 

Roller Bearings (4) 

for 1/2" shaft diameter 

Grill of Choice (1) 


Ever wonder how Quiznos and Pizza Hut cook their food perfectly every time? It's due to 
automation. You too can develop this type of automation on your own home grill with a 

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Grilling Automation! 

simple conveyor system! Here's how. 

Step 1 — Grilling Automation! 

• Assemble all necessary parts. 

• Additional parts are needed other than the three pictures shown on the left. To review the 
complete list of parts needed, please review the "Tools & Parts" section. 

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Grilling Automation! 

Step 2 

• Cut four 2" sections and two 5" sections of the multipurpose 1"x3"x1/8" aluminum angle. 
The four 2" sections will comprise the upright supports for the bearings while the 5" 
sections will make the bases on each end. 

• I chose to use 1"x3"x1/8" angle. Alternative angle dimensions can also be used. For 
example, a 2"x2" angle is shown in the picture. 

• I found that with softer varieties of aluminum, a basic hacksaw is sufficient for cutting 

• Alternate materials may be used for this purpose. However, alternate materials must be 
sufficient to handle the heat associated with the grilling application. 

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Grilling Automation! 

Step 3 

• Drill holes for the bearing mounting hardware in the four 2" sections of the aluminum angle 
that you just cut, and holes to mount the uprights to the base (the two 5" sections of the 
aliminum angle). 

• I chose to use #10-24 machine screws for this step. They fit the bearings and I had the 
hardware available. 

• I also chose to use self-aligning bearings sized for a 1/2" shaft. The bearings are fairly 
inexpensive and the 1/2" shaft diameter is sturdy enough to keep the wire mesh (conveyor 
material) taught. 

Step 4 

• Insert the shaft while simultaneously securing the uprights to the base angles. 

• Use the #10-24 machine bolts and the #10-24 machine nuts for this purpose. 

• There will be two different shafts needed for this task; one shaft will be plain (non- 
threaded) while one shaft will have a threaded end. 

• The shaft with the threaded end will be used to mount the pulley on. 

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Grilling Automation! 
Step 5 

• Once the two separate supports have been assembled, determine the desired location for 
mounting the supports on the grill of choice. 

• For the purpose of this build instructions, I have used a simple basin tub to describe the 

• It is important that the supports are located directly accross from each other on the grill or 

• Ensuring that the supports are parallel to each other will help avoid any alignment issues 
with the conveyor that will be installed in the following steps. 

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Grilling Automation! 

Step 6 

• Once the desired location is achieved, drill holes in the grill (tub, in this case) to be used 
for mounting the two shaft support structures. 

• Secure the supports to the grill using the #10-24 machine bolts and #10-24 machine nuts. 

• Take extra care to ensure that the two supports are parallel to each other when the 
hardware is installed. 

• This will avoid the aforementioned conveyor alignment issues. 

Step 7 

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• This next step is the most difficult 
and critical step to the operation of 
the conveyor system. It took me a 
couple of attempts to master. 

• Size the stainless steel woven 
cloth to be used for the conveyor 
material based on the distance 
between the supports. 

• The conveyor material needs to 
remain taut for the system to 
function as designed. 

• Once the desired length of woven 
cloth is determined, cut the desired 

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Grilling Automation! 

Step 8 

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• Insert the woven cloth around the two shafts as shown. 

• The two ends of the woven cloth (conveyor material) can be secured together with simple 

• This is a critical step for two reasons. First, the woven clother needs to remain taut 
for adequate operation. Secondly, the two ends of the woven cloth need to be 
stitched together as seamlessly as possible. This will ensure that the converyor material 
travels smoothly when the shafts are rotated. 

Step 9 

• Insert the pulley on the shaft with the threaded end. 

• I used a heavy-duty nylon pulley for wire rope (3/16" rope diameter, 3" O.D.). 

• I used a shaft with a 5/16 thread on one end. This appeared to be the common size of 
thread for the 1/2" diameter shaft that I used. 

• Secure the pulley to the shaft using a 5/16" machine nut. 

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Grilling Automation! 

Step 10 

• Install the general-purpose plain steel wire rope (6x19 class, fiber core, 3/16" diameter). 

• Different wire diameters may be used for this purpose. However, the diameter of the rope 
used must match the size capability of the pulley used. 

• For my situation, 3/16" diameter wire rope was available. 

Step 11 

• The project is complete. 

• Happy Grilling! 

st generated on 2012-11-29 09:13:16 AM. 

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